Retailers and processors are confident milk supply to consumers will not be disrupted on 1 August if dairy farmers resort to blockades or demonstrations to protest against cuts in milk prices.
Earlier this month, the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, the Tenant Farmers Association and Farmers For Action jointly called for a reversal - by 1 August - of the milk price cuts imposed by the nation’s milk processors on 1 April.
If their demands are not met, the NFU has threatened to “support and facilitate” targeted demonstrations by dairy farmers outside processors’ and retailers’ premises.
However, retailers and processors are confident they have robust contingency plans in place to avert any disruption in supply from depots or into stores.
The Co-operative said it was in “constant dialogue” with members of The Co-operative Dairy Group and was hopeful that it could resolve the situation without the need for protests. It did, however, have “plans in place in case of any possible threats of disruption”, said a spokeswoman.
Processor Robert Wiseman Dairies, which cut the price to its dairy farmers by 1.7ppl and supplies milk to The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, said it would ensure supply to its retail customers. “We always have contingency plans in place,” said a spokesman.
McDonald’s said it was confident that supply of milk to the Olympics would be maintained despite calls from some dairy farmers for supply to be disrupted. “Our long-term relationship with our suppliers gives us confidence in our milk supply,” said a spokeswoman.
McDonald’s purchased over 56 million litres of milk last year, most of which was supplied by Arla, which plans to cut its farmers’ milk price by 2ppl from 1 August.